Is There Such A Thing As A Travel Snob?

Throughout my travels I have found that many people are quick to compare their conquests – where they have been, how many countries, how many of them are “off the beaten path”, what type of traveller they/you are, eg backpacker, flash packer, eco traveller etc. There are certainly different kinds of travel and it’s good to recognise them, but there seems to be a growing trend amongst some travellers to be pretentious or to judge others based on what type of travel they enjoy, and it’s something which greatly disappoints me.

One of the first things that made me fall in love with travel was the people I met along the way. Travel was not about labelling people or feeling like you were better than someone. I love how when you meet another traveller, it doesn’t matter where they are from, what they have done, or where they have been, you all just went out together and had a good time. You had this instant connection and it didn’t matter about anything else because essentially you are all there for same reason – travel makes you happy.

Obviously with any people you meet in life, some are going to have similar interests to you and others will not. Some travellers may like to keep to more popular areas or go out drinking more, and others will prefer something serene, quiet, or may have already experienced the areas you have and be on the lookout for something a little different. The key thing is that those differences don’t make us any better or worse. I feel like I have to repeat this over and over sometimes to people, and I realise I may be having a bit of rant here which was not my intention, but it’s ok for people to like different styles of travel. Sure, there may be people you hang out more with or less depending on how their style suits you, but it’s merely a matter of personal taste.

The irony of all this is that a lot of travellers experience some sort of judgement from people back home who don’t understand the lifestyle. In my experience some people back home have looked down upon the lifestyle I have chosen as something that is either “not a real job” or a “phase”, and can’t accept there are people who don’t want 2.4 kids, an office job and a mortgage. (Not that there is anything wrong with that either but it’s just not what I want.) It is extremely disappointing to see other travellers look down on others because they haven’t seen as many places as them or have not been “off the beaten track”. As travellers we should recognise the differences in people just like we do another country or culture, and not see them as any better or worse.

If there is a new emerging style of travel right now it seems to be the travel snob, and it’s something I’d like to actively discourage.

– Could I also just say that most people I come across while traveling are not travel snobs. It is the minority of people, however this number seems to be getting bigger the more I travel (or at least I am noticing it more) and it’s something I want to try stamp out.

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16 Responses to “Is There Such A Thing As A Travel Snob?”

  1. Anj (@1writergrrl) says:

    I agree wholeheartedly…travelling has always been one of the places I’ve felt the least judgement, full and complete freedom, enjoyment. To lose that to one-upsmanship seems a shame…

  2. Sabina says:

    I think some (a lot) of people at home don’t understand the desire to travel, so when you tell them you’re leaving, they draw a blank. A lot of people I know take one week of vacation a year, leaving them lying exhausted on a beach. I, thank God, don’t have to live like that. I don’t look down on the “typical tourist,” though. Traveling in tour groups, etc. works best for some people. Perhaps these people would not travel at all if they didn’t have a guided tour to go with because they’d be too afraid, intimidated, etc. on their own. It’s better to travel by whatever means than never to travel at all, I think.

  3. Great post. We like the “live and let live” travel philosophy you espouse. Keep on being an inspiration to others in your travels.

  4. jane says:

    @Anj Yeah i’ve never really understood the need of some people to compare their travels

    @Sabina yeah I definitely agree, although I must admit, if there is one type of travel I have never fully understood it is package holidays. It really hurts the local economy, and although I don’t believe in comparing styles of travel against each other, I do wish some people who look at what their travel style is doing. Good comment. 🙂

    @Authentic Seacoast Resorts, Thank you for such a nice comment! 🙂 It’s always great to hear from people who have an affinity with what i’m trying to do, and me with theirs also.

  5. Ross says:

    You cant

    How does package holidays effect the economy? If anything they they are vital for local economies. Look at what happend with the fires in Greece a few years ago when the goverment were begging people not to cancel there holiday as it would have finished off the people who were so badly effected. Were you so keen to slag off the package holiday when your mum and dad were paying for you to go to Florida not so long ago? Or when you went on an organised tour round the West Coast of Australia?

  6. jane says:

    Hey Ross

    You have a good point. It’s something I never really took into conideration untill you pointed it out. I also realise my style of travel is not perfect, but I am trying to make steps towards improving it with every trip I make. I guess I was also talking about a particular type of package holiday, and I do realise they are important for the economy, I just think they could be even more beneficial if just a few simple changes were made.

    For the record though, I didn’t go to Florida with my parents and haven’t been since I was in my early teens. I was offered to go last year and also the year before all expenses paid, but it’s just not my thing. The west coast australia thing I see more as an extra within an independant trip.

  7. Joel says:

    Great post, Jane! One of a few I’ve seen lately about styles of travel and judgment about how people travel.

    I’m curious about one aspect, though. I never see or experience this in person when I travel. Is this really a growing trend on the road or is it more of a reaction to people WRITING about their travel? Is it the growth of bloggers and the proliferation of people sharing their perspectives online (and in writing, we can often take a more extreme stance to make a point)?

    This is an honest question – not baiting in any way. In person, I’ve just never experienced this phenomenon (I may just have been lucky) and while I’ve certainly seen travelers at times who do or say things I consider odd or rude, I could say the same about people back home, too.

    • jane says:

      Hi Joel
      You touch on a really good point actually. When I think about the instances of what I would call travel snobery, there are a considerable amount of them online via blogs and other sources of travel writing, where it is very easy to write from a more extreme perspective. In fact, I may even have been guilty of doing something similar in the past myself. However, when I was writing this piece I actually had a few people in mind from my own personal experiences when travelling, so I would say, at least from my own personal experiences, that there are people who demonstrate travel snobbery whilst on the road.
      That being said, it is still a very small minority of people, and by enlarge most people I come across when travelling are not travel snobs. My main purpose for the article was really to stamp out travel snobbery before it becomes a main problem, but also just to make people aware of it. I think a lot of people don’t actually realise they are acting this way untill it is pointed out to them.
      🙂

  8. Over the last 6-7 weeks I’ve seen people’s eyes instantly glaze over after I told them where I have travelled. Some were jealous of a place I went where as other’s just tried to one up me straight away. Then a few just stopped talking to me altogether.

    In the whole though I’ve met great people and I think the majority of people travelling are still good eggs.

  9. matt says:

    Great post! This is something I have thought about recently as well. I have seen some people express a certain level of snobbery, especially over the whole tourist v. traveler semantics. Yes, I have a travel site but I also have a job and can only manage a few weeks of travel a year. So when I travel I am a tourist, no doubts. A few people have problems with this moniker though.

  10. Cari says:

    Thank you for your terrific post. I couldn’t agree with you more. I have loved traveling since I was a young girl and am fortunate that my husband enjoys it too. I could not live my life without exploring new cities, countries, cultures, and adventure. It is the lifestyle that works for me. I have many friends (almost all) who are parents and look and my husband and I like we’re crazy for traveling so much and not “settling down” with kids. It stinks when people judge you because you like to travel. Would it be fair for us to judge others because they have kids and a mortgage? Absolutely not! If that life works for them, then so be it. To each his own.

    When I talk about all of our trips and adventures with people, it is because I want to share my experience with them in hopes that they too will want to explore. When I hear other travelers, like yourself, talk about travel, I get very happy and excited to hear about their adventures. It’s about the LOVE of travel and exploration, not about how much someone spent or how many places they’ve been to.

    http://www.getcaridaway.wordpress.com

  11. Love this post, reminds me of one Steph from @20stravel wrote a while back. I couldn’t agree more. We are constantly questioned for our lifestyles, so why turn judge and jury on others? A new volunteer just started at my volunteer home and she immediately said, “I don’t like to go where there are a lot of tourists.” For a few minutes, I felt self-conscious about wanting to visit the Taj Mahal (she stayed away on purpose). That is ridiculous. There’s nothing wrong with seeing significant tourist sites versus off the beaten path. Both have value. It’s really what the individual learns from the experience.

  12. Laurel says:

    I found myself nodding as I read this and if I’m honest I’m a travel snob on occasions, like I don’t understand people that only travel to all inclusive resorts. But you’re right, live and let live, everyone is different and while I seek adventure when traveling this is not why everyone travels.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] week I read two wonderful posts by great travel bloggers @runawayjane and @20stravel, where they lamented the fact that there seems to be an ugly trend of travel […]

  2. […] week I read two wonderful posts by great travel bloggers @runawayjane and @20stravel, where they lamented the fact that there seems to be an ugly trend of travel […]

  3. […] irony of all this is that I recently wrote a post on Is There Such A Thing As A Travel Snob, and how I dislike those who disregard any particular style of travel as lesser than that of their […]


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